Compare benzoyl peroxide vs. Differin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Benzac (benzoyl peroxide)

Prescription or OTC

Differin (adapalene)

Prescription or OTC
Treats acne.

Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) is the most effective over-the-counter treatment for mild acne.

3.4/ 5 average rating with 394 reviewsforbenzoyl peroxide
Treats acne.

Differin (adapalene) is commonly used for treating acne, but, it can cause skin irritation.

Upsides
  • Available over-the-counter from many brands.
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) comes in many different forms and combinations with other acne products.
  • Differin (adapalene) is a good option for the treatment of acne.
  • It is available as a cheaper, generic medication.
  • It only has to be applied to the skin once a day at bedtime.
  • The 0.1% gel formulation is available over the counter, without a prescription.
  • Differin (adapalene) is generally well tolerated, with few side effects.
Downsides
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) increases your skin's sensitivity to the sun and may also cause dryness or stinging.
  • Be careful when applying Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) to large areas since it can bleach hair, clothing, and pillow cases upon contact.
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) needs to be combined with other medications to effectively treat severe acne.
  • Your skin may look worse before it starts looking better.
  • Differin (adapalene) can take up to 8 to 12 week to start working.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Cream
  • Lotion
  • Liquid
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Soap
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Lotion
Price
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Reviews
394 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
29%
saiditworked well
9%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
5possible side effects
  • Skin dryness
    42%
  • Skin redness
    38%
  • Skin scaling
    35%
  • Persistent burning and stinging
    24%
  • Persistent itching
    21%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Bleaching
  • Skin irritation
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
  • Allergic reaction
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Local skin reactions
    • Soaps and cleansers with skin-drying effects
    • Products with high concentraions of alcohol, astringents, spices, or limes.
  • UV and sunlight exposure
  • Severe allergic reaction
See more detailed risks and warnings